WITNESS RADIO MILESTONES
State House Official Dupes 251 Families, Grabs 2 Square Miles of Minerals
Gertrude Njuba, is a State House official charged with solving land wrangles but instead it’s seems she is now part of this problem that has engulfed the country.
One of the assignments, that president Museveni bestowed into Njuba’s eager hands, is to jealously protect the indigenous people’s land. But evidence so far shows she has turned around and targeted mineral-rich lands and consequently hoodwinked the owners to vacate before compensation.
Njuba, who has been a State House Director in charge of Land matters, for now 12 years, is accused of grabbing two (2) square miles of land located at Kamalenge, Bukuya sub-county in Mubende district. Before Njuba struck, the land used to be
a sanctuary of about 251 families, with majority engaged in subsistence farming. The land is said to be rich in gold, thus attracting people of means, Njuba inclusive.
It’s not the first time Njuba, an NRM historical, is implicated in land grabbing scandal. In July 2017, she was accused of grabbing a 12-square mile piece in Mubende. The land which is coincidentally said to have gold deposits.
In this particular grab, at least 120,000 indigenous families were violently evicted. Their land and property worth billions of shillings including permanent houses were demolished without compensation.
Article 26 (1) stipulates that “every person has a right to own property either individually or in association with others,” and article 26 (2) provides for (i) “prompt payment of fair and adequate compensation, prior to the taking of possession or acquisition of the property.”
Before evicting the poor peasants, Njuba, a director of Anglo-Ugandan Co-operation (AUC) mining ltd, used public offices including that of the office of the Resident District Commissioner (RDC) to convince natives to vacate their land willfully before receiving their payment.
Natives claim that before the valuation report was out, Njuba made them to sign an agreement. A 3 percent disturbance fee was included in the said agreement in order to entice the rural dwellers to vacate their land faster but even those benefits are yet to be realized, it’s said. The benefits were expected to come from gold got from their land.
As a sign of commitment to pay everyone’s compensation after leaving the said land, Njuba targeted some leaders and paid them less than 10 percent of their total entitlement, which she has also refused to pay fully. Through their leaders; Enoch Ruyonga, Fabiano Kamuhanda and Alex Kamusiime the peasants said Njuba’s actions are in total breach of the 1995 constitution which prohibits deprivation of property without compensation.
In the valuations drafted by V&Q consulting surveyor valuators, Enoch Ruyonga’s properties were valued at Shs 53,500,186 (about $14,861) just got 7,446,721 (about $2,068), Jackson Mukasa valued at Shs 47,496,813 (about $13,193), and paid only Shs 12,000,000(about $3,333) John Kasinzi was valued at 27,104,229 about ($7,528) but just got Shs 7,000,000 (about $1,944)
Others are, Ibrahim Muganga who was valued at Shs 5,816,889 (about $1,615) but just got just 2,077,091 (about $576), Alex Kamusiime was valued at Shs 4,583,735 (about $1,273) and just got Shs 2,000,000 (just $555), Faibano Kamuhanda was valued at Shs 38,802,155 (about $10,778), was paid Shs 11,438,480 (about $3,177) and James Musisi was valued at Shs 3,800,000 (about $1,055), but paid him just 1,000,000 (about $277).
Complaint against unprofessional conduct of the DPC Kiryandongo district for aiding and abetting land grabbing in kiryandongo district.
Professional Standards Unit, Uganda Police-Kampala.
RE: COMPLAINT AGAINST UNPROFESSIONAL CONDUCT OF THE DPC KIRYANDONGO DISTRICT FOR AIDING AND ABETTING LAND GRABBING IN NYAMUTENDE KITWARA PARISH KIRYANDONGO DISTRICT AND CARRYING OUT ILLEGAL ARRESTS AND DETENTION OF INNOCENT RESIDENTS/ BIBANJA OWNERS FOR PROTESTING AGAINST THE ILLEGAL EVICTION FROM THEIR LAND.
We act for and behalf of the Lawful and bonafide occupants of Land described as LRV MAS 2 FOLIO 8 BLOCK 8 PLOT 22 (FORMERLY KNOWN AS RANCH 22).
Our Clients are residents of Nyamutende Village, Kitwara Parish in Kiryandongo District where they have lived for more than 30 years and sometime in 2017, they applied for a lease of the said Land to Kiryandongo District Land Board through the Directorate of Land Matters State House.
As they were still awaiting their Application to be processed, they were shocked to establish that the said land had been instead leased to and registered in the names of Isingoma Julius, Mwesige Simon, John Musokota William, Tumusiime Gerald, Wabwire Messener Gabriel, Ocema Richard and Wilson Shikhama, some of whom were not known to the Complainants. A copy of the Search is attached hereto
Our clients protested the above action and appealed to relevant offices, but were shocked to discover that the above persons had gone ahead and sold the same to a one Maseruka Robert.
Aggrieved by these actions, the Complainants appealed to the RDC who advised them to institute proceedings against the said persons, and assigned them a one Mbabazi Samuel to assist them to that effect. The said Mbabazi accordingly filed Civil Suit Noa 46 of 2019 against tne said registered proprietors at Masindi High Court challenging the illegal and fraudulent registration, sale and transfer of the subject land to Maseruka Robert.
While awaiting the progress of the case mentioned hereinabove, the Complainants were surprised to find that the said Mbabazi, instead of assisting them, he went into a consent settling the said suit on their behalf without their knowledge or consent. A copy of the Consent is attached hereto.
Among the terms of the said consent Judgment was that the residents would be compensated without specifying how much and would in return vacate the Land.
As if that was not enough, Maseruka Robert and Mbabazi Samuel are going ahead to execute the said Consent Judgment by forcefully evicting the occupants without compensation which has prompted the complainants to challenge the said Consent by applying for its review and setting aside at Masindi High Court which is coming up for hearing on the 29th March 2023. A copy of the Application is attached hereto.
Sensing the imminent threat of eviction, we also filed an application for interim stay of execution of the said consent to avoid rendering their application for review nugatory but unfortunately the same could not be heard on the date it was fixed for hearing (6th February 2023). A copy of the Application is attached hereto
On Thursday last week, three tractors being operated by 6 workers of a one Mbabazi Samuel [the very person who had been entrusted to represent our Clients to secure their Land through Civil Suit No.46 of 2019] encroached close to 50 acres of our Clients’ land and started ploughing it but our Client’s protested and chased them away.
We have however been shocked to receive information from our Clients that on Sunday at Mid night, 3 police patrols invaded the community in the night and arrested community members; Mulenje Jack, Steven Kagyenji, Mulekwa David, Ntambala Geoffrey, Tumukunde Isaac 15 years, Kanunu Innocent, Mukombozi Frank, Kuzara, Rwamunyankole Enock, and took them to Kiryandongo Police Station where they are currently detained.
We strongly protest the illegal arrests and detention of our Clients as this is a carefully orchestrated land grabbing scheme by Maseruka Robert and Mbabazi Samuel who are receiving support from the DPC Kiryandongo.
The purpose of this Letter therefore is to request your good office to investigate the misconduct, abuse of office and unprofessionalism of the said DPC Kiryandongo District and all his involvement in the land grabbing schemes on land formerly known as Ranch 22.
Looking forward to your urgent intervention,
C.C The Head Police Land Protection Unit Police Head Quarters Naguru
CC The RDC Kiryandongo District
CC The Chairman LCVKityadongo District
CC The Regional Police CommanderAlbertine Region
WITNESS RADIO MILESTONES
The Executive Director of Witness Radio Uganda talks about the role played by Witness Radio in protecting communities affected by large-scale agribusinesses in Kiryandongo district in an interview with the ILC.
WITNESS RADIO MILESTONES
Witness Radio Uganda wins the best CSO land rights defenders award at the National Land Forum Awards.
By Witness Radio Team
Uganda’s leading land and environmental rights watchdog, Witness Radio has been awarded the best CSO land rights defender award 2022 in the recently concluded National Land Forum Awards held last week at Mestil hotel in Kampala.
Witness Radio’s executive Director, Jeff Wokulira Ssebaggala attributed the award to the community land and environmental rights defenders who stand up against the intimidation and different forms of harassment from land grabbers (economically powerful and politically connected companies and individual investors).
“This is an award for defenders at a community level. They work in very deadly environments filled with harassment, torture, death threats, arrest, trumped-up charges, and kidnaps among others to advocate for community land and environment rights. This is happening at a spate where criminalization and silencing of community land rights defenders are at increase.” Jeff added.
The award has come at a time when hundreds of Ugandans in different parts of the country are accessing services provided by the organization ranging from legal service provisions, non-judicial mechanism engagements, empowerment to help them understand their rights, and using the same knowledge to use the same skills to push back against illegal and forced evictions
The chairman of the organizing committee of the second National Land Forum, Mr. Jimmy Ochom noted some progress on legislation in Uganda’s land Governance. He cited growing inequalities on land where the poor are more vulnerable.
During awards, the state minister for housing, Hon persis Namuganza revealed that the government approved the plan for 2018-2040 that maps the land use in the country.
According to the minister, the government had identified land for settlement, game reserves, wildlife, arable land for farming, and water bodies among others in the plan which she said was passed a few weeks ago.
The event was organized by Oxfam and partners and provided a platform for discussions by the different actors in the land sector on issues around land governance, including land rights, land administration, and land governance for improved collaboration, cooperation between the actors, and improved land service delivery for Ugandans under a theme “Taking stock of the National Land Policy in addressing Land inequality in addressing Land inequality in Uganda.”
Other categories of awards that were won by different organizations and individuals including Mr. Eddie Nsamba-Gayiiya for his contribution to research on land rights, Justice Centers Uganda for Promoting Access to Land Justice, and Mr. Henry Harrison Irumba for Championing Legal Reforms among others.
MEDIA FOR CHANGE NETWORK1 week ago
Six cattlemen opposed to the Tilenga oil project-related forced land eviction have been granted bail but will remain in prison…
DEFENDING LAND AND ENVIRONMENTAL RIGHTS3 days ago
Court dismisses criminal case against the eight land rights defenders in Kiryandongo district for want of prosecution.
MEDIA FOR CHANGE NETWORK2 weeks ago
Persecution: The prosecutor’s office is turned into a tool to harass locals for opposing land grabs to give way to the oil project in Mid Western Uganda.
STATEMENTS2 weeks ago
Joint statement: AfDB should open spaces for civil society and communities, during the Annual Meetings and beyond.
NGO WORK4 days ago
Press statement: CSOs call on NEMA to disclose Bugoma forest restoration plan
NGO WORK2 days ago
EACOP Was Anchored On Disinformation, Persons Affected By Pipeline Declare